For more than a decade of my life, I had struggled with debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Like millions of people around the world, I longed to discover a magic pill to cure my ills and promise me nirvana. But, despite taking many medications, ongoing psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECTs), hospitalizations and failed suicide attempts, wellness had remained a distant dream. The anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants worsened my symptoms and made me more agitated, depressed and suicidal. And I was utterly confused about why the medications that were supposed to alleviate my symptoms exacerbated them instead.
Staring out of the fifth-floor hospital window one day after yet another failed suicide attempt, I promised to take charge of my life and create a life of wellness. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I just wanted to be well.
Most of all, I wanted to be able to take my little girl to school, play with her in the park, and tuck her to bed at night with her favorite story.
Somewhere deep in my soul, I was convinced that the medications were making me sicker instead of helping me heal. So, despite my fears and those of my family, I decided to listen to my inner wisdom and wean myself off all medications under the supervision of my psychiatrist and explore holistic pathways to health and wellness.
Eventually, I learned that wellness does not come encapsulated in a pill; rather, it encompasses the way I live. And, in order to live in a state of complete wellness, I must integrate and ensure health in all dimensions of life: Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Social, Intellectual, Occupational, Financial, and Environmental.
Over the last twenty years, I have created a Personalized Wellness Action Plan that has helped me thrive despite recurrent bouts of depression. The daily practice of pranayama, Transcendental Meditation, journaling, and exercise, combined with proper nutrition, hydration, meaningful work, loving relationships, service, joyful hobbies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and sleep have helped me thrive despite the stressors and setbacks of life.
Although medications did not work for me, my brother and sister have been helped by them, just as millions of people around the world. I sincerely believe that each person is unique, and they should pursue their own path to wellness. And, even when medications help, holistic practices can enhance a person’s overall wellbeing.
Regardless of whether you, your loved one, or the people you serve are struggling from depression, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, cultivating a life of holistic wellness provides us the resilience to heal and thrive. And, most importantly, a holistic lifestyle prevents illness and promotes wellness.
I invite you to take a few minutes, sit still, reflect on your life, and create your Wellness Action Plan. Stick to it and enjoy the many rewards of a healthy, vibrant life.
Wishing you wellness,
Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS